Pre-pregnancy Advice

To give your baby the best start in life, there are some things you should consider before you become pregnant.

Making your birth plan

Many women are not aware of their rights to choose maternity care. If you're pregnant, you can use our resources to help choose the right birth plan for you.

40% of women who recently gave birth either weren't aware or didn’t feel they had a choice about their birth hospital, according to our research.

If you’re pregnant and choosing where to have a baby, use these resources to help you make an informed decision.

Stop Smoking Completely

Women who smoke are more likely to have a miscarriage

Smoking restricts your baby’s oxygen supply - this will make it grow less well

Cut down on Alcohol

You should cut down to much less than the current guideline (for non-pregnant women) of 14 units/week.

Ideally, stop drinking alcohol altogether, especially once you are pregnant.


If you are taking any medicines regularly (including those from a health food shop), ask your doctor if it is safe to continue with them while you are pregnant


You should check that you are protected against Rubella (German measles).

If you haven’t been vaccinated, your doctor may suggest this prior to getting pregnant.


It is important to eat a healthy diet and eat regularly.

Try not to lose or gain large amounts of weight as this may make it harder to become pregnant.

Avoid drinking too much caffeine.

Take FOLIC ACID before becoming pregnant

This helps prevent spina bifida (where the baby’s lower back and spine does not develop properly).

Foods such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach, & peanuts contain folic acid.

Supplements are often recommended (see your pharmacist for advice).

Avoid X-rays

You should avoid x-rays while you are pregnant and also the 2 weeks before your period each month while trying to get pregnant.

Ultrasound scans are safe in pregnancy.

Stopping Contraception

If you have been using condoms or a diaphragm/cap, then you can simply stop using them.

If you have been using a contraceptive implant, then you need to ask your doctor to remove it.

If you have had a contraceptive injection, you will need to wait until this wears off.

Although this takes about 12 weeks, some women find that it takes longer for their periods to return.

You should use condoms and wait for your first normal period before trying to get pregnant.

If you have been on the Pill/Mini-pill, then you can stop it at the end of your current pack. You will menstruate at your usual time. Some women find that there is a delay before normal periods return after stopping the Pill. It is therefore best to wait until you have had your first normal period off the Pill before trying to get pregnant.

Getting Pregnant

Most women will become pregnant within 1-2 years of stopping contraception.

You are more likely to conceive at certain times of each month.

If you menstruate every 28 days, the time you are most likely to get pregnant is around day 14, ie, the middle of each cycle.

Testing for Pregnancy

If you think you are pregnant, a pregnancy test may be purchased from a pharmacy. These tests are very sensitive and give an accurate reading.

How to Prepare for Pregnancy

  • See your doctor about any ongoing health problems
  • Avoid taking medicines where possible
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption
  • Check you are protected against Rubella
  • Take a total of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily